As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?
Yes, I’ll say it again… I had it all wrong. I was the youngest of three, and believed that my oldest sister was setting the groundwork for what was expected of me. I had no idea what it meant to be an individual, or that maybe I had a special talent (hers was art) that I could be sharing (turns out mine is writing). So, as I raced through my childhood (I couldn’t wait to be 13…a REAL teenager; then Sweet 16, then 18 so I could go buy cigarettes myself; 21 so I could legally drink, etc.) I found a small boy trapped in a mans body and felt sorry for him. I could see the pain he was carrying around with him, his lack of self confidence because his parents (my ex monster in law) was forever calling him stupid, and grew to have a special love for this man. I thought it was in the rule book… you meet “the one”, you get married, you buy a house, you have children. Well, we did all that, not necessarily in that order, but we did it. So I spent my childhood under the false impression that these things were expected of me, and couldn’t wait for them to happen.
My one passion in life was to write. He would constantly joke with me about the number of pens and notebooks I owned. I was first published when I was pregnant with our son. You see, as angry as this man makes me (for one week welcoming my son with open arms, only to turn around and say he’s no longer welcome in his home) there will always be a part of me that loves him. He gave me my son. How could I not have some kind of love for the person responsible for giving me such a gift? I don’t like the way he treats my son; I despise his girlfriend because according to my son, all she does is yells at him; I know from our private talks he isn’t happy and yet he’s going to go forward and marry this woman, making the exact same mistakes we made together years ago. But, when I signed the divorce papers, his happiness was no longer my concern. I hope they’re one day able to stop all the screaming and yelling and develop the ability to communicate. Maybe then she’ll get to know who he really is, how much he is hurting inside and become closer, like a married couple should be.
I on the other hand, have learned from my mistakes. I’m not settling for anyone. I know the value I possess as a human being, and will not settle until this value is acknowledged by another. My self worth has multiplied in vast amounts, and when I say it’s “Me and my son against the world” regardless of who’s in the picture, I mean it. He will forever come first.
So, as I was stumbling through life like a kindergartener with her shoes untied, I was also learning. Making mistakes, taking mental notes, learning so as not to repeat those mistakes, and getting a grasp on what life is truly all about. It’s not about following societal standards. It’s not about doing what’s expected of me. I now know it’s about marching to the beat of my own drum. And since my 11 year old is now doing the same, I can remind him to slow down; I can teach him that societal standards make him a sheep. He’s an individual, and possesses several unique talents that I want him to share with the world. He says he doesn’t want kids. He wants to be a world traveler. I say “Have at it and have fun!” He reads stories full of adventure (ironically, he prefers non-fiction over fiction) and talks of joining the ARMY. It scares me to death, but then I have to remember that he’s only 11. His mind will change a million times from now until his 18th birthday.
So, what I do know, with 100% certainty, is that I spent the majority of my life being a sheep. I’m now on the right track, taking care of myself and my son, on my own. I don’t depend on anyone else to help me or to “complete me.” I’m already complete. Having a man in my life is an added bonus. He brings out the happiness in me, he has taken the time to learn about panic disorder and social phobias and is helping me to overcome them. He, too, is a blessing. However, if he walked out the door tonight, my life would not crumble. I would miss him, and I would be sad for a long while, but my life would not end. I’m FINALLY grounded. I’m finally right where I’m supposed to be. I’m happy. I’m practicing Buddhism with my son and reaping the rewards. Life is finally good. And it only took 35 years!! Now all I have to do is get this book written and published!!
Happy Blogging everyone!
Until next time…